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Transmission Options

Discussion in 'Transmission & Transfer Case' started by jorlain, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. jorlain

    jorlain Junior Member

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    Location:
    Brainerd, MN
    First Name:
    Mike
    Truck Year:
    1980
    Truck Model:
    C10
    Engine Size:
    150 I6
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to the forum but I'm an avid gearhead. I wanted to touch base with you guys who have a lot more experience with these trucks than I have to see if there's something I'm overlooking.

    I recently picked up a 1980 C10 Stepside with the Inline 6 250 and a three on the tree. I'm weighing my options with engine\transmission swap options. Ultimately, I think I'm going to end up with a 4.8 or 5.3 swap as my power plant, although I'm still toying with the idea of a BBC. I actually kind of like the three speed, but I plan on cruising a lot in this pickup so I'm thinking I ought to convert to an OD transmission. I'm also not sure how much power the 3 speed can handle. I'll probably be in the 500 ft lbs of torque arena at the flywheel.

    Finding an OD manual transmission seems to be quite the trick, though. The ones I do find are way too expensive. I'm finding NV transmissions at $1500+ and T56s at $3000+. I'm sure I could find a T5 out of a third gen camaro\firebird for cheap but I'm not sure if that would really last very long. At these prices I'd almost be better just getting a Gearvendor's overdrive unit and keeping the 3 speed. I've heard tale of a 3 speed with overdrive unit, but I've never seen one. I'm guessing they're unobtainium and parts are few and far between.

    After looking at all of that, it's seriously got me considering just going to a 4l80e, as those seem to be plentiful and in the $500 arena. Add a couple hundred for a shifter, fab a crossmember, and I'd be pretty much squared away. The downside, obviously, is that it's an automatic.

    What's everyone else's experience been?

    Thanks!
    Mike
     
  2. Big Chip

    Big Chip Full Access Member

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    Truck Year:
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    Truck Model:
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    Engine Size:
    454
    Maybe look into a Nissan 350Z or 370Z manual transmission and call www.advanceadapters.com for the parts you need. I heard the owner on a podcast talking about them because the T56 is so expensive. They can tell you the HP and Torque limits of that transmission and at least give you an idea of cost.


    Edit: I had one of those 3 speed with overdrive that was in a 67 GMC I had. I gave to an uncle and he put it in his 72 and drove it for years. He loved that transmission.
     
    DoubleDingo, animal and jorlain like this.
  3. Shorty81

    Shorty81 Baby Boomer

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    Welcome from the Buckeye State. JMO, I'd stay with the 250 3 on the tree.
     
    1987 GMC Jimmy likes this.
  4. mcarlo86

    mcarlo86 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Truck Year:
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    Truck Model:
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    Engine Size:
    350
    I have one of those 3 speed overdrive transmissions that came out of a '67 C10. It has a solenoid on it that activates the OD. Thought about swapping it into my '68 C10 in place of the SM465 that is currently in it, but haven't found a floor shifter that would work with it. I also vote for keeping the 250 and the 3 on the tree. It is getting rare to see that combo anymore as everyone seems to be doing LS swaps now days.
     
    Blue Ox likes this.
  5. jorlain

    jorlain Junior Member

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    Engine Size:
    150 I6
    I agree the 250 and 3 speed have a certain amount of cool factor, but I really would like to cruise the thing somewhat efficiently. I would really like to keep the 3 speed. I wonder if I can hunt down one of those OD units for not too much scratch.
     
  6. Rhett Croley

    Rhett Croley Junior Member

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    Location:
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    First Name:
    Rhett
    Truck Year:
    1990
    Truck Model:
    K5
    Engine Size:
    496
    I've got a 700r4 that my transmission guy built for me to handle a 500hp big block stroker. He told me he could do it and that 700r4's were capable if built correctly and he was right. It was built with heavy duty clutches and a corvette servo. The motor is just over 500fpt. He also built the 700r4 on my son's 87 k10(405hp/420tq). Both were rebuilt as carry-outs for $800. I've had zero issue with either, shift great. On our '86 K10 "LS" swap we'll be installing a 6.0 LQ4 motor. I'd assumed I'd just rebuild the stock 700r4 in it but I've researched that the 2wd-4L80 will mate to a NP208 transfer case, something about shortening the shaft. I'm not looking for an LQ4 with a 2wd 4L80, it's a no-brainer for me considering what it will cost to rebuild and adapt the 700r4 to the LQ4.
     
    Battlac40 likes this.
  7. jorlain

    jorlain Junior Member

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    If I were to go with an auto, I'd definitely go with a 4l80e. You can get pullouts at most salvage yards for $400-500. Panel trucks and utility vans came with them aplenty with varying engine configurations. Not that a 700R4 wouldn't work. I rather like them for what they are, but you do have to put some money into them to keep them from burning up 3-4 clutch packs all the time, especially behind any power.
     
  8. Battlac40

    Battlac40 Full Access Member

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    @Rhett Croley Can you send me any details you have on the LQ4/4L802wd/208 setup? I have $900 into a 208 that is behind a worn-out 350C-lockup. I am very interested!
     
  9. Craig Nedrow

    Craig Nedrow Full Access Member

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    Truck Year:
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    Truck Model:
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    Engine Size:
    350
    The 350TH, 700R4, 4l60 and 4L60e all have similar internals, many parts exchange. Go here: https://www.sonnax.com/
    Will take as much HP as you can throw at is, until the input shaft breaks, then go to an M300 shaft or simular. they are easy to build at home, go to Youtube university, many excellent videos.
     
  10. shiftpro

    shiftpro Full Access Member

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    Location:
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    Truck Year:
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    Truck Model:
    1500, 2500, 3500
    Engine Size:
    350, 383, 454, 496!
    With a 4L60 or 80, you will need a pricey shift controller.
     
    Catbox and SquareRoot like this.
  11. jorlain

    jorlain Junior Member

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    Engine Size:
    150 I6
    Jake's Performance has a neat little shift controller that essentially makes it perform like a manual valve body. The car will be in whatever gear the shifter is in. It's not too crazy a price - $185 or so. The downside is that it's at full line pressure all the time so the shifts are going to be a bit on the firm side, depending on your converter, etc.

    https://shop.jakesperformance.com/shop/ols/products/4l80e-manual-control-box
     
    HotRodPC likes this.
  12. Dale A

    Dale A Junior Member

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    Truck Year:
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    Engine Size:
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    If your C10 is clean and bright, I too, would leave it as is. I am biased a little, that is my favorite year, If you are planning on restoring the truck you might just consider a 350CI w/ a 400 or 350t. The combo is fairly inexpensive, easy to find and easy on the wallet for parts. A little mod here and there and you'll have a truck that's classic and burn up the rubber now and then.
     
    Shorty81 likes this.
  13. jorlain

    jorlain Junior Member

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    Truck Year:
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    Truck Model:
    C10
    Engine Size:
    150 I6
    Unfortunately, the truck is riddled with rust and will be receiving some donor pieces and a fair amount of patch panels. In the end, there won't be much that's original to the truck. The good news is that the box seems to be in much better shape than the rest of it, with just a few rust spots in out of the way areas.
     
  14. shiftpro

    shiftpro Full Access Member

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    Engine Size:
    350, 383, 454, 496!
    There's a fellow in eastern Canada who makes them and they cost I think around $80 Cn beaver bucks... If anyone is interested PM me...
     
    Battlac40 likes this.
  15. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Truck Model:
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    What about just putting some boost into the 250?

    Nothing crazy, just 7-8 pounds would make it peppy and totally different.
     
    mcarlo86 likes this.

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